Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience Journal Article by PRMS

Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience Journal Article by PRMS

Our Risk Managers contribute articles to the Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience (ICNS) digital journal. Here is an excerpt by Ann McNary, JD, PRMS Senior Risk Manager, from the current article titled ‘“Covering” Your Bases: Managing Risk While Away from Your Practice or Filling in for a Colleague.’

Question: This summer, I’m taking my family on a long overdue vacation to Italy. Frankly the last three years have been exhausting and we all need a change of scenery. Although I have typically just continued handling my own calls when I’ve been away from my practice, this time I feel like I need a real break. The last thing I want though is for this to upset my patients or put me or my covering provider at risk. What steps can I take to ensure that my vacation doesn’t create a lot of headaches for myself and others?”

Answer: It has been a long three years, and good for you for deciding to take some time for yourself. With spring upon us and summer just around the corner, I imagine a lot of other providers will be thinking about taking some time away from their practices. Professional organizations are again meeting in person, travel is normalizing, and the dollar is strong abroad. Whether a break means taking a long vacation to another country, heading to a conference to meet with colleagues, or holing up by yourself in a cabin in the woods, there are a few things you should do to make sure things go as smoothly as possible in your absence. 

  • Make certain your staff and covering providers have accurate telephone numbers and other contact information.
  • Discuss with staff situations in which you absolutely want to be contacted, which may include problems with specific patients. Remember, your staff knows how hard you work and may be very reluctant to contact you on your vacation. Issues may come up that are unrelated to treatment, and thus not appropriate to refer to a covering provider, so clear guidance (preferably in writing) will take the burden off of them and ensure that you receive needed information.
  • Make covering providers aware of those patients about whom you have particular concerns. Also, discuss with them those situations in which you would want to be consulted.

Subscribe to the ICNS publication for free here to read the rest of Ann’s suggestions on what to do before taking time away from your practice, as well as suggestions for covering for a colleague taking time away.


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